The most romantic place in Wellesley is a small room in Town Hall, where a good time will only run you $30. There’s no doubt the rate is favorable, still most takers hope to experience the fun just once. There’s something about the encounter on the second, third, or tenth go-around that simply will never compare to that first time.
Get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about getting hitched, as approximately 12 couples per year do at Town Hall. There, Town Clerk KC Kato officiates over the legal ceremony in which anyone 18 years or older can make a lifetime commitment. All they have to do is pull the proper paperwork, make an appointment for the ceremony, and show up ready to roll. Kato performs the ceremonies after regular Town Hall hours only. An appointment is necessary to make sure that she is available and not scheduled for an event or meeting.
Kato considers officiating at weddings as one of the great honors of her job and notes that although each ceremony has certain similarities in terms of legal wording, each couple brings their own vibe to the ritual. “They are all very sweet in their own way,” she says. “Some ceremonies are just the couple getting married. My most recent marriage ceremony included a small number of family and friends. Since we do not have a marriage ceremony space, we limit the number of guests to ten or under.”
Kato has officiated at 23 ceremonies since June 2018, all at Town Hall.
The appeal of a minimalist wedding ceremony is obvious. Couples don’t need to secure a fancy venue, or hire a caterer or photographer. Any family drama can be avoided on the actual wedding day, perhaps better dealt with at a time of the couple’s choosing. Best of all, there is no correlation between the size of the wedding and the joy of the participants.
Kato says, “Weddings are such happy occasions. The couples have various reasons for choosing Wellesley Town Hall to get married, but they all have in common the feeling of commitment and love for each other and excitement for the future.”
Not that I’m trying to talk anybody into anything, but it’s really, really easy to get married at Town Hall.
Yes, this post is missing a photo of a lovely couple getting married at Town Hall. If you got married there and are willing to share 1 of your wedding photos, please send to [email protected] and we’ll pop it into the post. Remember to identify who we’re looking at, and when photo was taken.
How easy is it?
In order to obtain a marriage license, which is valid for 60 days, both parties must appear together to fill out the Intention of Marriage at any Town Clerk’s Office in Massachusetts. In practice, there’s a waiting period, which means couples have to pull a Marriage License three days before they want to say “I do”. Applicants can get around that agonizing delay by throwing money at the problem. If a waiver of the three-day waiting period js what they want, they may simply file a petition for Marriage without Delay (sounds ominous) at the Probate Court for Norfolk County in Canton. The probate court fee is $195.
Couples don’t need to get a blood test, standard procedure up until the 1980s. That test, once required as a way to ensure neither party had the sexually transmitted infection syphilis, was discontinued over thirty years ago by almost all US states and territories. The test was yielding few positive results and came to be considered cost ineffective.
(Fun fact: in Montana, a blood test before marriage is still required by law to confirm rubella immunity, but only for women. That made sense in the pre-vaccination time before 1969, when the disease was widespread and a serious danger to unborn children. According to the Centers for Disease Control, rubella was eliminated from the US in 2004. Still, the test requirement persists, because in Montana tradition is important. There is an out: the couple can sign an informed consent form declining the rubella immunity testing.)
Can I see some identification?
Couples don’t even need to provide identification unless one or both look to be under the age of 18. If one or both of the parties look as young as all that, a birth certificate may be required to show proof of age. But even the under-18 thing, isn’t a marriage deal breaker. Although some of the spontaneity may be lost, very young couples who are bound and determined to make that forever commitment need only get a court order from a probate or district court for Norfolk County before the Intention of Marriage can be filed. Yup, that piece of paper from the court, which must be signed by a parent or guardian, is all it takes to stick together FOR LIFE, kids.
Can I get a witness? Sure, but you don’t need one
Massachusetts does not require that witnesses be present at a Town Hall ceremony. The officiant takes care of the legalities such as completing and signing the original license and returning it to the clerk of the town where the license was issued. The officiant may be a member of the clergy, justice of the peace, or a one-day solemnizer.
Keeping it personal
A relative or family friend may solemnize the marriage by first applying for a One-Day Designation to Solemnize a Marriage. The fee is $25.
Convinced a Wellesley Town Hall wedding is for you?
For additional Information please contact the Town Clerk’s Office 781-431-1019, ext. 2250.